" Illustration, Drawing, and The Tango " -c2013j

Drawing and Words by Paul Rodecker

The Difference between Illustration and Drawing is a subtle yet important one. Illustration reveals answers, whereas Drawing discovers questions. I've never considered myself an Illustrator. However, over the last half-decade I have been creating Illustrations for various clients, and have found such work to be surprisingly beneficial to my Drawings. Truthfully the more I have illustrated the less I see a difference between Illustration and Drawing.

Yet, There still is a difference.

What's changed for me is that I feel a stronger connection to Illustration. There is something beautiful about showing one's answers, especially to long-sought questions. I am glad I've come to this acceptance, as I have some really good answers when it comes to the realm of 'putting marks on a two-dimensional' surface.

Also, working as an Illustrator has caused me to need to work with live-models again. I had forgotten how much I loved the drawing the human-form from life. It's a wonderful experience and challenge, and I am thankful to all the models I have had the pleasure to draw.

I would consider the above-featured drawing as gesture. A gesture is like a hint of something. A gesture-drawing could be comparable to someone motioning someone else to come over, or using their hands to show directions. A gesture-motion (in drawing) is typically expressive, usually faster-than-slow in motion, and is concerned with capturing emotions first (rather than details first). A gesture-line can be heavy or soft in its weight, but a successful gesture-line will be responsive to the subject being drawn, and have the line-weights needed to express what is being seen, felt, and experienced by the artist and the model.

Perhaps Gesture-Figure-Drawing is akin to dancing the Tango?

Consider the words of Daniel Trenner, one of the early pioneers in bringing the ‘milongueoro’ style  of Tango social-dancing to North America:

“It took years to get past being fascinated with the steps, which were my first draw to the dance. The dancers who were doing less footwork were uninteresting to me and I just didn’t see them. Then, years of advice from the milongueros to feel the dance, not just learn steps, began to take effect. I started to notice the dancers for how they stood, embraced and felt the music. It isn’t like I didn’t know about these things before, I just didn’t see them… even though they were right in front of me.”